With a slurry of incomprehensible Spanish, the locals passed Jeff and me off at each transit station like a bushel of mangoes. As if already knowing our destination, a man beckoned us to his psychedelically painted former school bus. We asked if he was going to Leon. “Si,” he said, “Leon.” Loaders hoisted our backpacks to the roof joining the other luggage, parcels, green banana stalks, rice sacks, and crates of chickens. “Por favor,” an assistant ushered us to our assigned seats. This was irregular as most buses were a free-for-all when boarding. At the back of the bus, he put me in one seat and Jeff in another. My inadequate Spanish could not convince him we wanted to sit together. He motioned two other men into my seat, then filled the remaining rows with the skill of a sardine packer. The free-for-all filled the aisle. “How will we know when it’s our stop?” I asked. “I don’t know,” Jeff answered. “I just hope we get our bags back. I don’t think they are tied down.” “Maybe all those people sitting up there will hold onto them,” I offered, worried we would be robbed blind. It was 135 kilometers from Granada to Leon. At each of the many stops, the bus exhaled and inhaled people and goods like a giant bellows fanning the Nicaraguan economy. The attendant squished his way down the jammed aisle collecting the fares of the new passengers. Vendors boarded and pressed their way through the crush selling baggies of food and drink, then exited at the next stop. Hungry and tempted, we dared not trust our American guts with such delicacies. A man with a megaphone gave a sermon, passed a hat, then disembarked. A blind man boarded with an accordion, sang a song or two, collected more donations than the zealot. Passengers traversed the moving bus, exited the back door, then climbed the ladder to the roof, escaping the mélange of garlicky sweat and fried empanadas trapped amongst the throng. “Have you seen any signs yet?” "No, but we passed Managua, so it’s close,” Jeff said, craning his head. “Do you have the hostel address?” “Yah, but the guidebook said it fills quickly so we have to hurry.” “What if they’re full?” I worried. “How will we find another hotel in the dark?” “I don’t know.” On the busy highway, the man sitting next to me exited through the backdoor. He grabbed the ladder railing with one hand, then covertly aired his penis and released a stream. I looked away, squeezed my thighs tighter. “Americano!” the attendant called out at the next stop; a slurry of Spanish rolled over the passengers as he pointed at us. “Leon” was all I recognized. “Pardon. Gracias. Pardon.” We wedged our way toward the front door and were exhaled from the bus. A taxi driver hailed us from the street. We looked up to the half-empty roof for our packs.